Looking back – Summer 2015

Once again it’s time to look back at past seasons, pondering on what I thought then – and what I think now.  How many shows have aged like cheese, and which ones have aged like milk?

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Hit the jump and let’s travel back in time to Summer 2015!

Quick notes:

The shows that I watched are in bold, shows my wife and I watched together are in bold italics.

A reminder on my rankings… they’re on a five point scale to coincide with my rankings on Anime Planet. But one 2.5 can often be different from another 2.5, so where needed I supplement them here with verbal comments to clarify.  These rankings reflect what I thought at the time, and may or may not reflect how I’d rank them today.

I did some research, but this is written mostly from memory…  My original comments can be found in the comments section of Top Summer 2015 Anime: Final Ratings at Mage in a Barrel.

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Gangsta

This show could have been so much more. It started out as a character driven drama, but quickly fizzled when it shifted to being more about the politics and background. Not helping matters was that said politics and background were poorly thought out and only partially explained as the series progressed.

Special award; Silver Raspberry for the show that most wasted it’s initial premise.

I can’t say much today that I didn’t say back then…  I love the heck out of the OP (it’s in my anime playlist) but other than that the show had no lasting value.  I’ve never rewatched even a minute.

This would be Studio Manglobe’s final production, as it filed for bankruptcy just a few weeks after the end of the season.

Final rating: 2.0

GATE (2015) / Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri

Not bad, not great, but not bad. Decent enough characterization (even if trope heavy, and with the MC being a Gary Stu), and decent animation… but in the end, not as good as it could have been. Like so many shows this season, it could not decide what it wanted to be – an action drama or a political drama. Whatever it turned it’s attention to was handled well, but the whipsawing tone got to be a bit wearying.

Special Award; The character most otaku will want to see cosplayed (Rory Mercury).

I enjoyed it well enough, but I still agree with what I said then – knowing that a second cour was coming, it feels like setup.  Would I have felt the same not knowing that?  Certainly not, but I still would have enjoyed it.

I’ve rewatched Ep 6 (“Ride of the Valkyries”) quite a few times, because it’s cool.  And because the scene with Rory and Kurabayashi fighting back-to-back is really cool.

GATE - Fighting Giant Monsters
The protagonists go up against a dragon, and produce one of the best lines of the entire series…  (It’s a nod to the kaiju genre, best known in the West for the long running Godzilla franchise.)

Final rating: 3.0 Decent enough, but mostly an extended setup for the second cour.

Million Doll

That the show ended abruptly with episode 11 is emblematic of it’s problems… the set up a premise, but then just didn’t know where to go with it. Several of the individual episodes were quite good (others not so much), but they never quite managed to string together a coherent story arc. Any of the four main threads could have made a decent short format season on their own, but taken together there just wasn’t enough time to do all of them credit.

Remember how I’ve always said I’m mostly writing this from memory?  Well, I don’t remember a darned thing about this series other than it had to do with idols and idol culture.  I think that says it all.

Obviously, never rewatched.

Final rating: 2.5 They tried mightily hard, but fell short.

Miss Monochrome 2

Outstanding – until the last couple of episodes. I loved the concept of building each episode around a central pun or joke, and was amazed they managed to pull it off week after week. The last couple of weeks were a bit of a fizzle though, as they started to take the ‘plot’ too seriously and left off the laughs.

Not much to say that I didn’t say then…  Though Miss Monochrome was hit or miss sometimes, I’d still watch another season.

Final rating: 3.5 Simply good.

My Love Story

Wow… it’s hard to believe twenty four episodes have gone by. In some ways, it’s been wearying due to the sheer weight of numnbers. In others, energizing because they so neatly lampshaded so many of the tropes endemic to the rom-com genre. (Though OreMono flirted as much with drama as with comedy, so simply calling it a rom-com does it a disservice.) Overall, a good series that I’m glad I watched, one of the few bright spots this season.

Special Award; Most outrageous male lead (Gouda Takeo)

Previously reviewed in the Spring 2015 Looking Back.

Non Non Biyori Repeat

I really don’t know what to say for a season review… after week after week of heaping on the superlatives, the well has run dry.  This emphatically isn’t damming with faint praise, I truly just can’t think of anything more to say.   I’d almost go so far as to say this was THE shining light of the season.

Awards; Best Female Lead (Renge), Best Female Supporting Character (Candy Store/Kaede), Best AnimationBest Cinematography.
Special Award; Best character with no lines (Suguru).

Oddly enough for a show I’ve never rewatched…  I still recommend it highly as practically the purest distillation of Slice Of Life that I’ve ever seen.  From what I’ve heard, K-On! fans may want to dispute that, but whatever.

Never rewatched the show, but I’ve rewatched this scene plenty of times…  I just love it to pieces.

Final rating: 4.0

Overlord

Sigh I really wanted to like this show more than I did in the end. It kept my attention week to week… but in the end it was just wearying. Despite a decent concept and some good lines and good scenes, the endless exposition and monologing and the glacially slow pacing pulls it down. The final nail in the coffin was the increasingly self aware game world intrusions.

Special Award; Gold Raspberry for pacing.

When the second season aired in 2018, I wasn’t even tempted to watch it.  If Summer 2015 had a show I’d love to travel back in time and tell myself to skip…  It would be Overlord.  Yes, I know that I rated Gangsta even lower, but at least it had interesting characters and cool fights.

Final rating: 2.5

Seiyuu’s Life! / Sore ga Seiyuu!

No, that’s not the OP (which I enjoyed and watched every week).  It’s a thoroughly charming insert song from Episode 8.

Though the individual episodes were a bit formulaic (character has a fear or a mental block, famous and experienced seiyuu shows up and dispenses the wisdom needed to get past it), overall the show was actually pretty good. Though not nearly as good as Shirobako, it also gives us a peek behind the curtain and does a decent job of it.

Awards; Best OPBest ED.

I rewatched this within the last year or so, and the second time around it seemed more agreeable and likable.  Familiarity breeds…  enjoyment?  Or maybe it’s my increased focus on characterization, which is one of Sore ga Seiyuu!‘s great strengths.

I’d recommend giving this one a watch for it’s rare combination of idol, workplace comedy-drama, SOL, and CGDCT.

Final rating: 3.0

Snow White with the Red Hair / Akagami no Shirayuki-hime

Season review; I really struggled to rank this show. I enjoyed it after a bit of trepidation at the start, but… there’s just something I can’t put my finger on. There’s certainly a lot to enjoy, especially in the animation and the characters, but it just seems to be lacking something overall. Too many episodes centering around Shirayuki and her (often over)competence would be my main complaint. It’s good that they didn’t go with the overused trope of the girl having to be constantly rescued, but the pendulum can swing too far the other way. The real strength of the series was it’s character development, with the aforementioned flaws in Shirayuki’s character. She was simply too good.

Awards: Best Male Lead (Prince Zen), Best Male Supporting Character (Mitsuhide).

Shirayukihime - first meeting
As time has passed, my main thought about this show is an increased appreciation for Obi and the changes in his relationship with Prince Zen mirror Zen’s character growth.  He ended up being featured in Adventuring with anime characters! and a conversation with Karandi inspired her Top 5 Obi Moments From Snow White With The Red Hair.

Hard to tell how much of that is this season, and how much is the second season…  The two run together in my mind.

I did try and rewatch recently, but it looks like I stopped after Ep 7.  I can’t even recall why.

Final rating: 3.0 Good, but not great.

The iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls Second Series

Back then, I didn’t write a season review because a pair of (largely pointless IIRC) special eps delayed the finale.  What I mostly recall five years on is that the series had such promise, but then squandered it.  The biggest problem was that the cast was way too large and we spent too little time with any of them.  The few memorable characters mostly stood out for their tropish characteristics.  (The Sleepy One, the Hungry One, etc…)

The original series is practically a textbook case in handling a large cast.  This series, an object lesson failing at handling a large cast.

Never rewatched, never been tempted.

Final rating: 2.0

Wagnaria!! 3 / Working!!!

Honestly, the season started out strong… it’s amazing how well they could take the same material they’ve covered before and still get us to watch and laugh. But as it swung into the second half, it got weaker as it departed from the slice-of–life format in favor of actual strong character progression and closing out character arcs.

S3 was… a bit of an odd duck.  The previous seasons had ongoing plot points, but was mostly episode focused.  This season was a little more arc focused and closed out many of the previous plot points.  So, it definitely wasn’t quite as enjoyable.

Sword Art Online - Ordinal Scale - Wagnaria
The Wagnaria chain received a brief cameo in 2017’s Sword Art Online Movie: Ordinal Scale

Final rating: 3.0 Good, but not great. The same as the preceding two seasons.  Never rewatched.

Wakaba*Girl

Pretty much your average CGDCT/moe short. Not sad I watched it, but there’s no value to be had in a re-watch either.

I can’t add much here because I honestly don’t remember much about the show or it’s characters.  Honestly, there’s nothing actually wrong with that…  as I’ve said many times, not every show is one for the ages.

Final ranking: 2.5 Not bad, but mostly cotton candy (sweet and fluffy with no lasting substance)  Never rewatched.

Wakako-zake

Another show where I don’t really know what to say… week to week, it was just quietly excellent. It stuck to it’s basic premise and left me with a smile and a desire for more as the credits rolled. (This is especially surprising given the ludicrous simplicity of the premise.)

Usually I’m not a fan of one-trick ponies, but Wakako-zake defied that and spent the season among my “must watches”.   I’ve never rewatched it…  but that comes with a caveat.   Ended up rewatching it last week…  Since it’s a short, it only took 45 minutes and that included watching the OP every time!

The anime short lead me to watch the live action on Crunchyroll, and I have rewatched parts of that series multiple times.  Crunchy only has the first two seasons (of the live action), and it’s a crying shame they haven’t licensed the remaining three.

Final rating: 3.5

Dropped: Aoharu x Machinegun (1 ep) • Bikini Warriors (1 ep) • Castle Town Dandelion (5 eps) • Classroom☆ Crisis (5 eps) • Danchigai (3 eps) • Venus Project: Climax (2 eps)

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Summer 2015 – full season chart

So, click on that season chart, then drop a comment and share what shows you watched during the Summer 2015 season – what do you remember?  How have they held up?

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15 thoughts on “Looking back – Summer 2015”

    1. I don’t even remember why I dropped it… I can’t even remember much about it beyond it being fanservice-y.

      That’s why I generally don’t comment about drops. Either I can’t really recall, or they’d end up being rants.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s rather self-aware which is hilarious, making fun of fan-service while being pretty much nothing but total fan-service. And like I said it’s only four minutes an episode. You could watch the entire season in the time you’d watch one episode of something else.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I dropped Bikini Warriors, too, or maybe I didn’t even try it, I can’t remember. Since then, I’ve heard only positive things about the show, sometimes from people who usually don’t watch ecchi. I can’t confirm any of this, since I’ve never picked it up to date.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I totally agree: Non Non Biyori is core slice-of-life, and its second season is one of the rare cases that outdo the first. And that knock-down-the-ruler game is one of the classic scenes, definitely.

    I actually liked Gangsta a lot, unti the studio went bankrupt and the series finished, I’d say midscene.

    Not a fan of Gate. I did enjoy it well enough, but the colonialism didn’t sit well with me.

    I dropped both Seiyuu (don’t remember why; it wasn’t bad from what little I can recall), Wakakozake (I have my hang-ups with drinking alcohol; but I still half-eye it from time to time).

    I actually liked Cinderella Girls, though it definitely wasn’t prefect. And I found Wakaba Girl charming.

    I’ve seen all the seasons of Overlord, but it has its annoying parts, and I’m not waiting with bated breath for another season.

    Both My Love Story and Shirayuki hime felt more like text-book ideal romances than anything interesting to me. Both had its moments; My Love Story felt like the more genuine show of the two, but it came with rapid diminishing returns for me.

    I really liked the humour of Miss Monochrome and Working, though for the letter there’s season one and after season one, so I have no clear notion of season 3 on its own.

    I have absolutely no memory of Million Doll, beyond a very vague sense of having heard the name before. It’s very rare that hear a name that leaves this little behind with me.

    Most of the shows you dropped I liked at least a little. Classroom Crisis was odd in a way that’s neither good nor bad, and I remember little about the show. Dandelion was cute but ultimately forgettable. Danchigai was very uneven, but it had skits that bordered on genius (like the silent movie style story where Sommellier picks up a stray cat). And Venus Project wasn’t particularly good, but in terms of the girls’ motivation to become idol they included “money”, and one of the girls at the end decided that being an idol was just not for her. It’s highly unusual for idol shows, and I remember it for that.

    There were quite a few shows I enjoyed you didn’t mention (Monster Musume, Rokka no Yusha, Shimoneta, Himouto Umaru-chan, Jitsu-wa Watishi wa, Ushio to Tora, Durarara the whateverth), but the major omission has to be:

    School Live.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. re:Gangsta I actually like the first half, but the wheels came off in the second… and turned the whole series into a train wreck.

      re:Million Doll You may remember me ranting on it back in the day.

      As to the absence of School Live, that’s easy… Except for the first three of Romero’s Night of the Living Dead series, I generally don’t care for zombie shows. It almost borders on loathing.

      I did watch Monster Musume a couple of years back and actually enjoyed it. Though more in the “it’s not quite the disaster it could have been” sense, if that makes any sense.

      Like

  2. Not one of your all-time favorite seasons, I take it? Looking back at my own post from back then I sure was catching up on a ton of backlog that summer. Looks like Wakakozake was the only new series that I kept up with weekly – on your recommendation, as I remember – and that was an enoyable one. Pshuuu….

    I have gone back to a few more since then, though I never got around to Classroom Crisis, the one I specifically mentioned wanting to check out. Oh well.

    As far as shows I have watched, Non Non Biyori Repeat is easily my favorite of the season. The ruler game was totally a highlight, and so were the baby Renge flashback and her learning to ride her bike.

    I appreciated Bikini Warriors as a comedy, since I grew up on the fantasy RPG games that it was satirizing, especially Dragon Quest. My favorite episode was probably the one where they were abusing their “adventurer privileges” to rob the whole village blind until the villagers finally got fed up. It was a great riff on the games where you can just waltz into NPC’s houses and take everything you find with no consequences. Of course, the main selling point for the series was supposed to be the fanservice, and that didn’t do nearly as much for me.

    My Wife is the Student Council President is kind of a low-key guilty pleasure. I can’t call it good because most of the comedy is pretty lame and tropey, but the chemistry between the leads is what saves it, and actually creates a surprisingly sweet story of two teens fumbling through their first relationship and learning the ropes of how to be a couple. Its sexuality is also pleasantly progressive by anime standards; their periodic “explorations” are treated as a perfectly natural thing with no purity-worshipping, slut-shaming, or unbalanced power dynamics getting in the way.

    No first or second tier shows from this season for me, and NNBR is the only one to make my third tier, although the other three shows aren’t helped by all being shorts; Wakakozake at least would probably be a tier higher if the episodes weren’t literally two minutes long.

    In the “started but never finished” category, I never finished Charlotte (despite saying I wanted to in my post). I also started Ushio and Tora at some point but never finished that either. And I showed the first episode of Overlord in anime club once. It didn’t interest me enough to keep going with it, but I know at least one of my kids picked it up after that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not one of your all-time favorite seasons, I take it?

      Not one of the worst either… Kinda average I guess? I’ve never really quantified seasons.

      If you enjoyed Wakakozake (the anime short), the live action (also on Crunchy) is worth checking out… With the caveat that it takes almost half the first season before it really finds it’s feet. But like the short, you can really jump in almost anywhere as there aren’t really any long running plots.

      I appreciated Bikini Warriors as a comedy, since I grew up on the fantasy RPG games that it was satirizing, especially Dragon Quest.

      I remember you liking it and trying to get me to to give it another shot.

      Non Non Biyori Repeat is easily my favorite of the season. The ruler game was totally a highlight, and so were the baby Renge flashback and her learning to ride her bike.

      All good scenes… And I’m looking forward to the sequel in Winter 2021. (Which is packed with potentially good sequels.)

      Like

  3. I don’t remember much about Gangsta except that I didn’t like it, that’s how forgettable it was to me. I thought it was going to be like 91 Days or something with that vibe, but instead I think what you say was the issue where it flip flopped too much between trying to develop characters, and trying to seem like a cool gangster story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The problem wasn’t just the flip in the kind of the story it was telling… It was the new storyline was so awfully ill developed. But yeah, I get how it can be forgettable. I’ve forgotten everything about the second half except how awful it was.

      Liked by 1 person

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